San Diego Zoo RITZ Gala

On a balmy summer's day, June 18th, 2022, at an early evening hour, a pulsating drumbeat was heard at the entryway at the San Diego Zoo as guests for the evening's gala began to arrive and enjoy one of San Diego's finest fundraising galas. 

Trunks up for Elefantastic R·I·T·Z 2022!

Attendees were welcomed to graze on tasty offerings at abundant reception stations and enjoy colossal cocktails, a trunkful of auction items, amazing wildlife ambassadors, upscale dining, and more. Those in attendance continually raised their glass in celebration of an extraordinary evening at the annual R·I·T·Z gala. Guests were encouraged to make a timely arrival so as not to miss the excitement and be left behind by the herd! 

By all measures, it truly was an unforgettable evening!  Ladies in attendance took their elegant fashion faves out of the trunk, and joined the party of the year. It was a larger than life gourmet reception with magnificent wildlife encounters spread across the venue, attended to by San Diego Zoo wildlife ambassadors. Silent auction items offered a variety of selections, certain to please the most discerning of bidders.

As the the sun went down, the party heated up, as party goers strut their finest moves, dancing the night away to live music! This year’s R·I·T·Z gala will benefited  Elephant Valley  at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park—a one-of-a-kind habitat for our growing elephant herd—where millions will be inspired to fall in love with these gentle giants, and new generations will join us in saving elephants around the globe.

Thanks a Ton to all who attended!



Your expedition through Elephant Valley at the Safari Park will take you into the heart of the Kenyan savanna. The sights and sounds of the African grasslands will come alive during your journey, swiftly transporting you to a place filled with wonder and magnificence, where your family and our elephant family become one.


Surrounded by our family of elephants, you will feel a powerful connection to wildlife as you walk in tandem with the largest animals on the planet. Their mammoth size, silent strength, and graceful movements will leave you awestruck. Elephant Valley will be unlike anything you've ever experienced before—and unlike anywhere else on Earth.


Orphans arriving at our partner sanctuary, the community-led Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in northern Kenya, often require around-the-clock care after arriving ill, dehydrated, and traumatized. Your lifesaving support through Elephant Valley will give each orphan a second chance—and the love they need to regain their strength.


As global leaders with more than 100 years of elephant care expertise, we share a century of knowledge and experience with partners around the globe. Elephant Valley will become a reimagined haven for our family of elephants and the epicenter of our conservation efforts to protect, save, and care for elephants worldwide.

Your journey through Elephant Valley takes you into the heart of the African savanna where you will be surrounded by our family of elephants. With vistas on both sides of the pathway, you'll walk in tandem with the largest animals on the planet.

During your expedition, shaded rest areas will line the pathway so you can relax and "live" among the elephants. And with the family of elephants just a few feet away, these serene moments will give you the incredible opportunity to make eye contact with one another, creating a powerful connection that lasts a lifetime.

On the 2 ½ acre Learning Savanna, inspiration and adventure come together through interactive learning. Large canvas tents and picnic tables turn this expansive new area into outdoor classrooms where educators bring conservation to life for countless school groups, summer camps, and overnight programs.

Trickling streams and ponds throughout Elephant Valley will flow into expansive watering holes. Here, you'll be able to join the herd as they gather to swim, splash, and cool off together on hot summer days. These streams will also flow into wetland habitats featuring an incredible variety of impressive birds, including storks and cranes.

Across from the watering holes, grassy meadows will become the perfect place for family picnics, giving you unparalleled opportunities to connect with wildlife care specialists and the elephants at eye level, as the herd dips into the watering holes directly in front of you!

Photography by Travis Land